Do me a favor. Go to MLB.com, and in the search box, type in “designated for assignment.” I was hoping for a simple definition I could copy to share with you. But there is nothing but articles and no clear definition.
What is designated for assignment?
Baseball has a very nasty habit of not stating all the rules. You have to read about baseball and listen to games to get the inside track. The problem with this is the classic telephone game. You start off with saying 3 strikes and you’re out, and it becomes Mike has 3 strikeouts.
Ask a baseball fan what designated for assignment is and you will get a variety of answers, from the kiss of death, which is being released from a team, to just being sent to the minors. Both are true, by the way. Confused? Well, don’t worry. I am going to clear it up for you.
When a player is designated for assignment, or DFA, he is taken off the 40-man roster. This usually happens to make room for a new player who has been acquired in a trade.
The team has several options, but it has 10 days to do something.
In this time frame:
- A player can be traded;
- A player can be sent to the minors, but he has the option to refuse assignment and ask for free agency;
- A player can be put on waivers (a whole other can of worms I am not going to get into right now), and if he clears waivers, can be picked up by another team;
- A player can be released.
- You can see the results of being designated for assignment on the transaction wire on the MLB.com site.